A Black Lives Matter shirt worn by an elementary student in Ardmore last week prompted a school employee to have this shirt returned.
This parent now believes the action was arbitrary and unnecessary, but the school principal said similar action has already been taken this year for somewhat similar offenses to avoid unnecessary disruption in the classroom .
The parent decided to challenge the neighborhood with some more Black Lives Matter shirts.
The parent – who is not identified by The Ardmoreite to protect the privacy of the children involved – said he found out after work Friday night that his 8-year-old son had been asked to return his Black Lives Matter shirt during the day of class. On Monday, the parent spoke to staff at Charles Evans Elementary School and said he was not told which section of the textbook his son had raped.
Instead, she said she was told her son had to return the shirt because of politics.
“I told him that (the main) Black Lives Matter had nothing to do with politics and that my son is eight years old, he doesn’t know anything about politics,” the parent said Tuesday.
The parent claims he was told any further discussions should take place with Ardmore City Schools Superintendent Kim Holland and the couple reunited later on Monday.
“I got in touch with him, I met him, we had a 40-minute conversation. I asked him to show me in the dress code of the policy where it said he couldn’t wear it, he said it wasn’t there, ”the parent said.
According to the 2020-2021 Elementary School Handbook on the district website, principals make the final decisions about the dress code. The 9 point dress code section only mentions that shirts and tops with “sayings or logos” should be school appropriate and tasteful.
Holland said the parent was offended that a manager asked his son to return the shirt on Friday and the couple couldn’t come to an agreement on the clothes on Monday.
“It is our interpretation not to create disruption at school. I also don’t want my kids to wear MAGA hats or Trump shirts to school because it just creates, in this emotional environment, anxiety and issues that I don’t want our kids to do. face off, ”Holland said.
Holland recalled cases from the college earlier this year and said there were likely similar cases at other schools in the district. “Most of it wasn’t a problem until this lady here was angry about it and I wish she hadn’t been so upset,” Holland said.
According to the parent, his Monday meeting with Holland ended with the idea that his kids wouldn’t actually be punished if they came back with Black Lives Matter shirts. The parent claimed to have a recording of the full meeting with Holland but declined to provide a copy on Tuesday.
“I asked him what would be done if I sent him to school with a Black Lives Matter shirt on, and he told me there was nothing they could do if they respectfully refused to wear their shirt. upside down, ”the parent said.
Her three sons left for school on Tuesday with Black Lives Matter shirts and a note refusing to take their shirts off or return them. According to photos she shared on Facebook, each shirt was a different color with the words “Black Lives Matter” surrounding an illustrated fist.
Her youngest children were sent to their primary school principal’s office to do the schoolwork for the day. Her senior at Ardmore Middle School said her day was not affected by the shirt, according to the parent.
On Wednesday, the parent and a small group of supporters met outside the elementary school of one of his sons. She and one of her sons were in the parking lot of her elementary school with at least six supporters, including a virtual student from the middle school. At least two other supporters had come and gone between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Her son was briefly in the parking lot and told him and reporters that he had not been asked to turn his shirt inside out. According to social media posts, the group stayed out of school for at least 45 minutes.
The mother claimed she did not want to pressure her sons to challenge school principals and added that the issues caused by the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer in May 2020 are being discussed at her home.
“I watch this stuff with them. I break things down for them very well. They know what’s going on in the world when it comes to Black Lives Matter, ”she said.
Holland said the three students had no problems and described them all as “wonderful”. He said the issue could cause the school board to review the dress code in more detail.
The mother said she is not looking to take legal action, but hopes school officials can better understand why her family is wearing Black Lives Matter clothes.
“The way they made my son feel on Friday, they treated him so badly and they don’t see it,” she said.